Can you imagine visiting a botanical garden, a mystery writer’s garden, a retail nursery full of tropical plants, an arboretum / research forest, and a cemetery arboretum in just 24 hours? If you attended the GWA Region III meeting in June, you not only imagined it, you actually did it. There were highlights at each stop.
Writing is a solitary profession. Gardening often is too. That’s one of the reasons I love GWA and the friends and colleagues I’ve met as a member. Not only does GWA provide a network of accomplished professionals, but it’s also a social group, full of friendly, interesting people who are willing to go the extra mile to help out a fellow member.
This past fall, as I worked on my most recent book, I had reason to appreciate this aspect of the vast network that is GWA. Because the subject of my book is intensely seasonal (The Wildcrafted Cocktail) there were several instances in which I needed to test a recipe with a plant that was no longer available where I lived.
When I needed to distill rose water from fresh, organic rose petals in November, I figured I was out of luck. Then I thought, hey, I know some garden communicators who live in warmer parts of the country…maybe their roses are still blooming. Within a half hour of posting my request on Facebook, Ann McCormick answered and said she thought she could gather enough for me before an impending storm touched ground in Fort Worth. I gave her my FedEx number and the next day I had a ziplock bag full of lovely pink ‘Old Blush’ rose petals, fragrant, fresh, and ready to be distilled. Ann refused compensation for her time and effort; all she asked was that I write this blog post! Continue reading “Networking Saves the Day: How One Author Located Hard-to-Find Ingredients”
If you’re a speaker, you’ve been introduced to many audiences. Some of those introductions have undoubtedly been short and sweet while others have been long and rambling, non-existent, or (worst of all) inaccurate.
Sadly, program chairs might take information off your website that appeals to them personally. In doing so they might be ignoring your credentials, the audience’s interests, or the topic you’re presenting. Others might read your entire resume, so that the audience is on the edge of slumber when you take the stage. Yet these incidents can be avoided. Continue reading “Let Me Introduce…Making an Introduction Work For You”
Not too long ago being social and networking involved getting out of the chair and meeting people. Face to face meetings in coffee houses, restaurants, and other venues sealed business deals and were a pleasant distraction for solitary writers. Then the 21st century brought high-speed internet, Twitter, and Facebook into our lives. The art of face-to-face networking was replaced by constant communication in the virtual world.
The GWA Annual Conferenceis one of the few places where you can brush off your skills at networking in the real world with real conversations that are not limited to 64 character thoughts and hashtags. This networking bonanza begins with a round of meeting and greeting those friends in the industry that you may have only known in the virtual world from Facebook and Twitter or even email. Face-to-face meetings are subtly different from virtual conversations. The non-verbal cues we get from voice inflections or facial expressions are just two of these differences.
I recently met with a local visionary who dreams of creating a world-class garden attraction at a local retail property he manages. He envisions a month long exposition that features speakers, workshops, elaborate garden displays, children’s activities, and more.
The man reached out to me at the suggestion of our mutual friend, the travel agent I partner with for garden tours. Our meeting included one of his consultants, a woman who knows me from my garden writing and from my television show, A Growing Passion.
He was on fire as he described the event. When he finished, he turned to me, a bit breathless, and asked if and how I could help make his dream come true. I chuckled. Nearly every aspect of what he described I have done and/or could do – design gardens, work with growers, organize events, assemble a roster of renowned speakers (that’s you guys) and designers, speak to the audiences myself, coordinate with vendors, promote the event to my own audiences and to the wider public using traditional and social media, and more.
This year marks the thirty-first year anniversary of my continuing membership in GWA. Gosh it doesn’t seem at all possible that it has been that long!
Thirty one years ago, way back in 1985, I somehow heard about a group that was offering an award for students who had published articles about gardening. At that time I had a few articles published, thanks to the Boyce Thompson Arboretum in Arizona and the Morris Arboretum in Philadelphia. I even had some I was paid for, one in a local newspaper and one for Greenhouse Manager magazine. Continue reading “Happy Anniversary to Me! Celebrating Membership in GWA”
“How do you find the time?” And so the banter begins when I tell a friend about my new writing career wedged in the middle of my current one, that of a wife and mother of five. New…it still feels unfamiliar despite seven years of organizing, writing, and promoting my first book, and now creating a blog to help form and shape my next one. Then again I still consider myself a beginning gardener after 25 years working our land, from newlywed apartment patio pots to the suburban back yard of our married life. Both writing and gardening have built-in humility, making their practice frustrating yet beautiful, elusive and full of grace.
It’s no wonder a career combining both leaves me wondering if there is a better way. I’m forever exploring efficiencies and best practices. I don’t have an answer, but I have observed that a small effort applied consistently over time – snippets, if you will – can yield much more elegant results than I feel worthy of. This is the beautiful, full of grace part that is a welcome balm in the bewilderment of how-will-this-ever-get-done?? Continue reading “The Power of Snippets: Finding Pockets of Time and Making them Productive”